Bitcoin Bulls Walloped by 50% Crash to Below $10,000

Bitcoin's extraordinary price collapse continued in European trading Wednesday, pulling the world's best-known cryptocurrency below the $10,000 mark and wiping billions from the market value of digital alternatives around the world.

Bitcoin prices broke through $10,000 today to trade at about $9,500, according to Coindesk. That marks a stunning 50% crash from highs achieved on Dec. 18. 

The slump has not only dragged bitcoin to a six-week low, it's also pulled rivals such as Ripple and Ethereum more than 34% and 43% lower so far this week, taking more than $150 billion from the 'market cap" of the world's three largest cryptocurrencies in just three days, according to coinmarketcap data.

Tighter regulations in key digital currency markets such as South Korea and China have been cited as triggers to the recent declines, with a report from South Korea's Yonhap news agency Tuesday indicating that Finance Minister Kim Dong-yeon is ready to reveal details of an earlier plan to crackdown on cryptocurrency speculation in one of the world's largest markets.

Reuters also reported the contents of a memo circulating within the People's Bank of China indicating that Vice Governor Pan Gongsheng is seeking to not only ban the centralized trading of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies but also individuals and institutions that provide services to facilitate it.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch's benchmark January fund manager's survey, which polls 183 investment pros who manage more than half a trillion dollars in global assets, considered long positions in bitcoin as one of the three "most crowded" trades in the market at present.

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